On July 1st, 2020, the state of California’s Assembly Bill No. 2138 effectively became a law. This law, which opens potential employment for those seeking professional licensing throughout the state, changes the way in which the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) approaches licensure. Particularly, it changes the way the department responds to a worker’s criminal record.

When was your last criminal conviction? Previously, a criminal conviction on a worker’s record was enough to deny, revoke or suspend a professional license. But, under the new law, the board only holds that power within a seven-year window or when the applicant becomes subject to formal discipline.

Furthermore, for license revocation or suspension to take place, the crime would have to relate to the duties or qualifications of your profession. The law also prohibits the DCA boards from denying or revoking your license:

  • On the grounds of a criminal charge that has been expunged or dismissed
  • If you provide rehabilitation evidence
  • If the results of your arrest were anything outside of a conviction
  • If you received a pardon or clemency for a crime

In 2019 alone, the California DCA issued over 280,000 new licenses and renewed four times that many. Of those new licenses, nearly 50,000 were nursing licenses and nearly 11,000 were pharmaceutical licenses. With so many questions in today’s job market, it can be easy to become discouraged as you pursue your ideal professional role. Laws like this make it possible for those with a criminal past to fight for their chance at a career they love.